Animal Kingdom for Beginners

Animal Kingdom was the 4th park to open at Walt Disney World on April 22, 1998. It is the largest park in Walt Disney World covering more than 400 acres. 10.9 million guests visited the park in 2015 making it the 4th most visited park in the United States.

The park’s icon is The Tree of Life a 145 foot tree sculpture. The tree is engineered from a former oil platform and has 325 carvings.

Tree of Life Animal Kingdom for Beginners
Tree of Life Animal Kingdom for Beginners

Animal Kingdom is dedicated to a kingdom of real, ancient and imagined animals. In total there are around 2000 animals representing 300 species.

Animal Kingdom for Beginners
Animal Kingdom

However, animals are not all you will find in this superb park. Animal Kingdom has some of the biggest E-Ticket attractions in Walt Disney World and after the opening of Pandora – World of Avatar this is at least a 2 day park.

Pandora - World of Avatar
Pandora – World of Avatar

Animal Kingdom Facts

Despite being the newest theme park at Walt Disney World it has plenty of interesting statistics and facts. Click the pictures to see some of our favorite facts.


Pandora the World of Avatar Facts

Planning Your Visit

To experience Animal Kingdom you should spend time planning your experience. In the past it was possible to do all the major attractions in one day but this is now impossible. The majority of guests will need 2 or even 3 days to experience the full park.

Not having a plan could mean you miss your top attractions.

Kali River rapids
Kali River Rapids

It is important you understand about Fastpass+ before you visit and the key booking windows. Have a look at our guide to aid with the planning.

In addition you can only pre-book one Fastpass for either Na’vi River Journey or Flight of Passage. Due to the popularity of these attractions do not expect to get an extra Fastpass later in the day.

Want to learn more about Fastpass+ Advanced Dining Reservations, My Disney Experience, MagicBand or MyMagic+? Read our handy guide.

We have also created a selection of Top Tips to get the most out of your day at Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom is growing. Following the opening of Pandora - The World of Avatar it is essential you have a plan.  Here are out Top Animal Kingdom Tips.

If time is tight it would be worth looking at our must-do attractions and those to consider skipping guides.

The problem with Animal Kingdom is the whole park is great. If time is limited these are 5 Attractions to Skip at Animal Kingdom.

The Lands

There are 7 lands in Animal Kingdom. The newest land Pandora – The World of Avatar opened in 2017.

Pandora - World of Avatar
Pandora – World of Avatar

This article is part of a series forming a Beginners Guide to Walt Disney World. It is still in  development and over the next few months further expansions will be made. Please keep checking back.

The Oasis

The Oasis is the Main Street, USA of Animal Kingdom. Guests enter this land after entering the park.

Donal Duck Animal Kingdom for Beginners
Meeting Donald Duck

Discovery Island

Located around the Tree of Life, Discovery Island is the main hub of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Discovery Island is home to It’s Tough to Be a Bug! and several animal trails.

Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom for Beginners


This is one of my favourite lands in Animal Kingdom. The theming of the land is outstanding. Africa is home to the fantastic Kilimanjaro Safaris, Festival of the Lion King & the Pangani Forest Exploration Trails.

Kilimanjaro Safaris
Kilimanjaro Safaris

Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Reached via the Wildlife Express Train the area has a conservation station & petting zoo. If you are short for time a section to consider skipping.


Expedition Everest & Kali River Rapids are the big attractions here. In addition you will find the Maharajah Jungle Trek & the Flights of Wonder show.

expedition Everest Animal Kingdom
Expedition Everest Animal Kingdom for beginners

DinoLand U.S.A.

Dinoland U.S.A. contains the excellent Finding Nemo: The Musical and Dinosaur.

Dinosaur Animal Kingdom Must-Do Attractions
Dinosaur Animal Kingdom

The awful tacky Chester and Hester’s Dinorama contains Triceratops Spin and Primeval Whirl.

animal kingdom
One to skip?

Pandora – The World of Avatar

The newest area of Animal Kingdom opened in 2017 containing the unbelievable attractions Flight of Passage & Na’vi River Journey.

Na'vi River Journey
Na’vi River Journey

Read our guide to learn more about Pandora.

Pandora - The World of Avatar is the hottest new area in Walt Disney World. Learn how to beat the crowds when you visit Pandora.


The park has 4 table service restaurants.

Yak & Yeti
Yak & Yeti
  • Rainforest Cafe part of the worldwide chain. The restaurant can be entered both from inside and outside the park.
  • Yak & Yeti an Asian-themed restaurant.
  • Tusker House in Africa offers safari themed Character Meals.
  • Tiffins this signature restaurant opened in 2016 and has the Nomad Lounge adjacent.

In addition there are several quick service restaurants throughout the park.

Rivers of Light

Rivers of Light is the first major night-time attraction at Animal Kingdom. This highly popular show features water fountains, barges, music and spectacular lighting. There are 11 barges in total.

Rivers of Light
Rivers of Light Animal Kingdom for Beginners

The show is located in Discovery Lagoon between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest.

Read More

Learn more about Walt Disney World in our Beginners Guide including how to plan your trip.

Guide to Walt Disney World
Disney World for Beginners

This article is part of a series forming a Beginners Guide to Walt Disney World. It is still in the early stages of development and will be expanded rapidly over the next few months with further updates,  more links and new articles. Please keep checking back.

Leave A Comment

Leave a Reply